The Not So Golden Age of Islam

Published on Jul 1, 2014 by Bill Warner

We are often told of the greatness of the Islamic Golden Age. But how much actual gold was there? And why does Islam do so poorly in intellectual work today?

Florida Senate Passes Textbook Review Legislation

Aya Sewell, Sarasota Citizen Activist Protests Houghton Mifflin World History: Patterns of Interaction

Aya Sewell, Sarasota Citizen Activist Protests Houghton Mifflin World History: Patterns of Interaction

By Jerry Gordon:

Last Friday in Tallahassee, April 11, 2014, the Republican controlled  Florida Senate passed SB864 sponsored by Sen. Alan Hays (R-Umatilla) by a narrow vote of 21 to 19. The measure would eliminate State Department of Education control over selection of textbooks returning that role to Florida’s 67 school districts, requiring open public hearing on texts used in courses.  The bill reflected in part concerns of conservative Groups over the Common Core Curriculum State Standards, sponsored by the National Association of Governors and Council of Chief State School Officers  seeking to impose national standards. Despite that criticism the Common Core has been adopted in Forty-four states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA).

 However, SB864 was largely prompted by a different issue; objections of parental groups in several Florida counties in about the treatment of Islam and Muslim culture in world history textbooks on the Florida State Department of Education list of approved texts.  A companion bill (HB 921) is working its way  through the Florida House sponsored by Rep. Matt Gaetz of Fort Walton.  That version would provide a local option to districts to review texts; however, the selections must still meet state standards.  Gaetz  was quoted in a News Herald  editorial saying: “I think there’s an increasing frustration by parents in our state, that they don’t have a lot of say regarding the content and materials their children use in the classroom.”

Local advocates here in Florida drew attention to misrepresentations of Islam in protests in Volusia,  Brevard and Sarasota Counties. Our  Iconoclast post on the subject, “Sarasota, Florida’s biased Islam textbook problem”,  highlighted the relentless efforts of citizen activist Aya Sewell. Ms. Sewell is of Iraqi Jewish  heritage, members of her family were  subject to a 1941 pogrom against the Jewish population in Baghdad, the Farhud.  Sewell led a campaign against such texts locally in Sarasota, as well as before the Florida Department of Education.  Elsewhere in the US, Tennessee parents have also raised objections to similar course material extolling Palestinian suicide bombers.     Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT) in Boston accused the Newton, Massachusetts school board and superintendent for permitting use of texts and course materials that engage in promoting false information regarding both Islam and demonization of Israel.  APT undertook content and bias analysis and promoted their findings that included placing ads in local area media and a petition campaign.

An article in the current edition of Education Week noted the debate over the pending Florida textbook legislation:

[Sen. ]Hays said the legislation was needed so that school board members will be accountable to parents and voters. He said school board members have blamed the state for the textbooks they picked.

“This bill imposes on the local school board members the responsibility and accountability to their citizens,” Hays said.

Opponents complained it would cost districts money to review textbooks. Sen. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, said she was worried that some districts would wind up censoring some books, while other senators raised questions about whether districts would pick textbooks aligned to the state’s current standards.

Even Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart questioned Hays’ bill.

“From a practical standpoint it lifts a burden from us,” Stewart said. “But we heard loud and clear from districts that they rely on (the state review). They need that. They don’t have the resources to be able to do that.”

Following the Florida Senate vote on SB864, CAIR-Florida unleashed an ad hominem campaign against Sen. Hays.  CAIR  undertook  an Action Campaign   sending  Florida  Legislators  an inflammatory Daily Beast  opinion column by Dean Obeidallah, that headlined, “Islamophobic Florida Republican Would Legalize Textbook Censorship”. Obeidallah  (which  means “little servant of God in Arabic”) is a former  lawyer,  self-styled Arab American standup comic,  son of a Palestinian father and mother of Sicilian ancestry who grew up in Paramus, New Jersey.  Self proclaimed Muslim Obeidallah has been involved in several controversial issues including an apology to the Romney family.  CAIR, a Muslim Brotherhood front group, was listed as one of several unindicted co-conspirators in the 2008 Federal Dallas Holy Land Foundation Trial involving funneling tens of millions to Hamas, an MB affiliate.

Read more at NER

Muslim lies consecrated in glossy new 1150-page Princeton encyclopedia

Screen-Shot-2014-04-16-at-8.36.46-PMBy Pamela Geller:

“The Encyclopaedia of Jewish-Muslim relations from their origins to the present day” and the more modest English version, published by Princeton, promises to be the official academic encyclopedic bible (quran?) of Islamic revisionism and historical inaccuracy according to the sharia.

The great Islamic lies are being given serious treatment by serious quisling academics. Lies and distortions with gravitas, my friends. The bloody and brutal history of Islamic Jew-hatred is scrubbed with an iron brush. Brainwashing 4.0.

Won’t Sir Martin Gilbert be surprised by this vicious rewrite of history? Academics like him will be jailed at some point, if this adherence to the savage sharia continues.

One has to wonder how much the sniveling  12-member scientific committee that approved the outrageous lies pimped themselves out for.

A perplexing rewriting of history, Lynn Julius, Times of Israel, April 16, 2014

Maimonides, the great medieval Jewish thinker and physician, is famous for his Guide for the Perplexed. But readers of a glossy new 1150-page encyclopedia in English and French will be equally perplexed by accounts of Maimonides’ life that can’t even agree on the correct year of his birth.

The joint editors are a Tunisian professor at the university of Nanterre (Paris), Abdelwahab Meddeb, and Benjamin Stora, a Jewish professor of North African history and author of a history of the Jews of Algeria. The two men have been touring France, North Africa, Israel and Belgium promoting the encyclopedia.

“The Encyclopaedia of Jewish-Muslim relations from their origins to the present day” was launched in November 2013. There is a more modest English version, published by Princeton.

Read more

Also see this bit of Islamist propaganda:

“American Muslims” - a 100 page pdf published by the United States Department of State  (h/t Creeping Sharia)

Hollywood: Sharia-Compliant

20130813_HOLLYWOOD_movies_TV_LARGEby EDWARD CLINE:

Hollywood has rarely produced a trustworthy depiction of historical events. My own philosophy of historical fiction is that historic events should serve as background to the conflicts, aspirations, ambitions, betrayals and destiny of the principal characters in the story. Further, the plot in which these characters move – or, even better, when these characters move the plot itself – should not conflict with the historic events, but be in sync with those events. The principal conflicts should be between the characters, not between the story and history. I obeyed this rule while writing the Sparrowhawk series, and also my period detective novels.

Hollywood does not adhere to such rules. I don’t think it has even formulated them.

Thus we have such examples as the 1936 Charge of the Light Brigade, in which the sequence of events of the Indian Mutiny and the Crimean War was reversed (the war, 1853-1856; the mutiny, 1857).  Otherwise it would have required Errol Flynn to survive the Charge and travel to India to rescue Olivia de Havilland from Surat Khan’s filthy clutches. History was tweaked, but not by much, to accommodate the plot. The lavish 1968 Tony Richardson version, however, was a plotless anti-war statement, complete with animated period political cartoons and caricatured Victorian figures. And, because it was an anti-war statement, it was gorier than its predecessor.

There are innumerable films and TV series grounded in history. I could write a book about the subject. I might do that, some day. What looms largest in my mind, however, and at the moment, is David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia (1962). At the age of 17, when I first saw it shortly after its release, I was literally smitten by it. It got me to read up on World War One. Although I entertained doubts about its accuracy, it was a grand scale film, one of the last. My positive appraisal of it gradually diminished over the years, the more I learned about how and why the Allied campaign in the Middle East was conducted.

Clinching my final negative appraisal was Efraim Karsh’s August 9th, 2013 article, “Seven Pillars of Fiction,” originally published in the Wall Street Journal and reprinted by the Middle East Forum. It concluded that Lawrence was indeed a consummate charlatan, and that the “Arab Revolt” was a fiction invented by one ambitious Arab potentate and cashed in on by another, the Saudi “king,” Abdul Aziz ibn Saud. Saud sat out the war and did not participate in any of the warfare conducted against the Turks by Lawrence under the aegis of Hussein ibn Ali, the putative “Sharif of Mecca,” and Prince Faisal, one of his sons. Hussein also sought the title, “King of the Arabs.” I provide many more details of this pragmatic episode of “nation building” in my detective novel, The Black Stone.

It also led me to the conclusion that David Lean, one of the finest film directors to ever peer through a camera lens, was just another ingenuous dupe of the legend of Lawrence of Arabia. At the time, questioning the stature of T.E. Lawrence would have been treated as slanderous heresy. His film, which I still maintain is a magnificent example of what films could be, was inspired by and produced as a result of the success of Terence Rattigan’s 1960 play, Ross, which was closer to the truth in its depiction of Lawrence than was Lawrence of Arabia.

I’ve often written about Hollywood’s Leftist, anti-American crusade, and its penchant for obliging the sensibilities of offended Muslims in the past, for example, herehereherehere, and most recently, here, about the Disney/ABC Family Group‘s capitulation to the demands of the Hamas-connected Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) that it cancel a TV program, “Alice in Arabia.” Nick Provenzo wrote about the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh in 2006, why Hollywood had little or nothing to say about it, and why Hollywood changed the villains from Muslims to “neo-fascists” in the production of Tom Clancy’s novel, The Sum of All FearsWikepedia has the “low-down” on why the villains’ identities were changed. The screenwriter, Dan Pyne, protesteth too much.

The Disney/ABC decision garnered little or no mention in the mainstream media, nor did the announcement that Disney/ABC would work with Muslim screenwriters to produce future programs that would not offend Muslim feelings or invite chares of blasphemy or “slandering” the good name of Islam. The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), a Muslim Brotherhood front group, announced also that it would provide Disney/ABC with this “talent.”

That boils down to: MPAC wonks voluntarily installed by Disney/ABC as paid censors of its output.  It means: Disney/ABC is willing to submit to Islamic Sharia law, and avoid any criticism of Islam, and the Muslim wonks will be there to ensure that Disney/ABC complies.

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Hollywood is but one miserable wing of the “house” the Brotherhood and its Islamic terrorist allies wish to bring down and convert to their own brand of totalitarianism. Just as the Soviets infiltrated our government and our culture in the 1930′s, including Hollywood, just as Hollywood obeyed Washington and refrained from producing movies during World War II critical of our totalitarian ally, Josef Stalin’s Soviet Russia, Islam has made a key beachhead in Hollywood, to guide its Leftist denizens in the Sharia way.

Ultimately, it will not be the Brotherhood’s hands that will help to destroy America, but the pragmatic, amoral, manicured hands of Hollywood, busy “reimagining” it.

Read more: Family Security Matters

Teach Your Children Well

11-20-Article-1-450x262by :

Following the horrific attacks on 9/11, I began to ask, like most Americans, what happened to our country.  As I researched and talked to experts, the issues of radical Islam and the attacks on America and Israel became extremely personal to me.  In response, I founded Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating Christians about their biblical responsibility to stand with and for the people and land of Israel. I established PJTN as a powerful Christian voice for Israel in the media using my years of experience in broadcasting and film. Christians were for the most part silent during the first Holocaust — I believe we cannot be silent again.

Little did I realize I would be fighting anti-Semitism in my very own backyard. For the last twenty-five years, we have resided in Williamson County, TN, a county with a long tradition of being one of the top ten most conservative counties in the U.S; a county in the very center of the Bible belt; a county where Christians should not stand by in silence. I discovered that behind our backs, a liberal school board agenda had taken hold and was indoctrinating our children. Several controversial incidents and troubling educational materials have been cause for great alarm.

Anti-Semitism in a Pearson Published Textbook

In November of 2012, a concerned Williamson County parent contacted PJTN about a controversial human geography textbook (The Cultural Landscape) being used in her son’s high school.  The immediate problem involved a section under the title, “Terrorism by Individuals and Organizations,” that asks students to consider the following question on why terrorism has increased:

“If a Palestinian suicide bomber kills several dozen Israeli teenagers in a Jerusalem restaurant, is that an act of terrorism or wartime retaliation against Israeli government policies and army actions?”

During the same class, an anti-Israel handout and a guest speaker influenced her son to question his faith and the accuracy of the Bible concerning Israel and her rights to her ancient homeland. This led to the concerned parent contacting me. It was also discovered that another student had remarked that “had he not taken the class, he wouldn’t have known about the dangerous Zionist agenda.”

Meetings with the school’s faculty led nowhere, so I filed an official complaint with the school district requesting the textbook’s removal due to the highly objectionable statement. With the help of several parents, nearly a dozen other objectionable passages, descriptions and word choices were also found in the book.  Not only was the textbook anti-Semitic and anti-Israel, but it was replete with anti-Christian, anti-Western and pro-Marxist propaganda as well.

Despite gathering over 1,300 signatures protesting the book, other parents’ outcries, and repeated school board meetings, Williamson County Schools Director, Mike Looney, encouraged the board to vote to continue using the book. Looney defended the use of this textbook because it had been used for several years with no one ever filing a formal complaint. He further stated, “I personally don’t get that anti-Semitic perspective from reading the question in context. I respect other people’s viewpoints and understand they might read it differently.”  He also felt that one passage in a 500-page book could not justify discontinuing its use.

The Nashville Jewish Federation supported PJTN’s leadership on this matter and agreed that the textbook needed to be removed and issued this statement:

“To create moral equivalency between specific acts of terror and legitimate territorial disputes  that are political in nature serves to legitimize wanton and premeditated violence against innocent civilian victims. To further allow distorted, unbalanced and prejudicial content to stand as a form of academic inquiry is a perversion of our educational system and a disservice to all the children who learn in that system.”

- Mark Freedman

Jewish Federation Executive Director

In October 2013, I took the issue to the Tennessee State Legislature where my advocacy against anti-Semitism is well recognized among the state’s legislators.  In a state that has passed several strong pro-Israel resolutions, legislators shared my concern about the material being presented to students. I testified before the Tennessee Senate Education Committee to address their concerns about this textbook material.  This testimony was instrumental in the Tennessee legislature introducing bills this year related to textbook issues.

Read more at Front Page

 

 

Preaching ‘Islamophobia’ to the Choir at Saudi-Funded Georgetown

varisco_danielBy Andrew Harrod:

“I don’t have any desire to debate Robert Spencer….I would never give someone like that a forum,” Hofstra University Professor Daniel Martin Varisco declared at Georgetown University on February 26, 2014.  Addressing the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Christian-Muslim Understanding (ACMCU), Varisco’s equally flawed outlooks on Islam and intellectual inquiry had disturbing implications for modern academia.

Prior perusal of the opening pages of Varisco’s 2007 Reading Orientalism:  Said and Unsaid did not raise hopes for his briefing “Khutba vs. Khutzpa:  Islamophobia on the Internet.”  In this book, Varisco analyzes leftwing intellectual Edward Said’s Orientalism and its legacy, expressing agreement “with most of Said’s political positions on the real Orient.”  Varisco reveals his discipleship of Said with condemnations of post-World War II United States having “become by stealth and wealth the neo-colonial superpower” in which a “neocon clique…engineered the wars” not just “against” Iraq but also Afghanistan. Varisco’s one-sided estimate of historical harms includes a “PhD cataloguing of what the West did to the East and self-unfillfulling political punditry about what real individuals in the East say they want to do to the West.”

Yet, Varisco writes, “Said hardly scratched the surface of the vast sewerage of racist and ethnocentrist writing, art, and cinema that for so long has severed an imaginary East from the dominating West.”  “In particular,” Varisco emphasizes,

almost anything that Muslims would consider holy has at one time or another been profaned by Western writers.  Perhaps the frustrated worldwide Muslim anger at Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses was emetic justice for centuries of vicious and malicious verbal abuse from the West, where this controversial best seller incubated.

Both matters of principle and practicality deter further reading of Varisco.  “Truth with a capital T does not exist for anyone,” Varisco nonsensically proclaims as one of his “own operational truths,” thereby placing in doubt Varisco’s views. Varisco’s attempts at humor also do not amuse, such as when he describes the book’s “anal citational flow of endnotes” designed to allow a person to “read for entertainment” Varisco’s turgid tome.

Nothing improved during Varisco’s presentation on “Islamophobia,” described in a Powerpoint image referencing a 1991 Runnymede Trust report as an “unfounded hostility” towards all things and persons Muslim.  One Powerpoint on “Combatting Islamophobia on the Internet” set a leveling tone with a recommendation of a “[f]ocus on interfaith efforts, noting that all religions have positive and negative aspects.”  This accorded with Varisco’s prior call for scholars to “be doing all we can to refute the notion that Islam is intrinsically more violent than other religions.”  “I am not saying that these things don’t happen,” Varisco conceded when showing a picture of a woman undergoing a sharia stoning to death.  Another Powerpoint, meanwhile, simply dismissed as “fallacy” controversies that “Muhammad was a pedophile and Islam is cruel to women.”

Varisco gave a historical overview of longstanding negative Western views of Islam.  He noted, for example, Dante’s depiction of Islam’s prophet Muhammad in the Inferno and unfavorable 19th century American comparisons of an emerging Mormon faith with Islam.  Varisco’s bias was evident when observing that John Smith fought Ottoman Turks before coming to America without ever analyzing whether Smith might have been justified to oppose Muslim aggression.  Varisco also reiterated his previously written scorn for an “allegedly Venerable Bede, who condemned invading Muslims of his time as ‘a very sore plague.’”  Why this single condemnation of marauding Muslims in France stopped at the 732 Battle of Tours discredited this pioneering English historian in Varisco’s estimation remained unexplained.

In discussing the 1797 American treaty with Tripoli, meanwhile, Varisco bizarrely claimed that “we were doing a lot of trade” with the Barbary States.  As any schoolboy should know, though, this treaty, including a tribute payment, was part of American trade protection efforts against Barbary pirate depredations scourging the Mediterranean for centuries.  Varisco then noted with a Powerpoint image America’s subsequent Barbary Wars resulting from the failure of diplomacy to dissuade the Barbary pirates from their attacks.  “Economics is always in there somewhere,” Varisco stated in a similarly bizarre fashion when discussing the United States’ first encounter with jihadists.

Turning to the present, Varisco condemned as “Islamophobic” the Clarion Project along with its film Obsession, the website Answering Islam, and Franklin Graham for having called Islam “evil.”  One particular focus of Varisco was the anti-Catholic writer Jack Chick who in his cartoon publications had wildly slandered the Catholic Church as Islam’s inventor.  Another emphasis for Varisco was evangelical Joel Richardson’s website Joel’s Trumpet with its apocalyptic predictions of an “Islamic Antichrist.”

The little discussed elephant in the room for perceptive “Islamophobia” observers during Varisco’s presentation, though, was “Islamophobe” Number One, Jihad Watch website founder Spencer.  Varisco cited a Spencer quotation from his book Inside Islam:  A Guide for Catholics listed at the website Spencer Watch. Varisco once again failed to explain why Spencer’s condemnations of Islam as an “often downright false revelation” and “threat to the world at large” were unacceptable. Varisco also noted a recent Jihad Watch entry criticizing his very Georgetown briefing.

Read more at Front Page

Andrew E. Harrod is a freelance researcher and writer who holds a PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a JD from George Washington University Law School. He is a fellow with the Lawfare Project, an organization combating the misuse of human rights law against Western societies. You may follow Harrod on twitter at @AEHarrod.

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Over at Jihad Watch, Robert Spencer is laughing

Ibn Warraq Takes on Fact, Fiction, and Freedom

9780988477858_p0_v1_s260x420-232x350By Andrew Harrod:

The world’s free peoples “risk losing all to Islamist thuggery,” the pseudonymous Islam scholar Ibn Warraq warns in his latest book, Sir Walter Scott’s Crusades and Other Fantasies, a collection of essays previously published online.  Analyzing past Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations, the Muslim apostate Warraq insightfully separates historical fact from popular fiction before defending the freedom necessary to distinguish between the two.

The book’s first half analyzes the Crusades and their perception in light of Sir Walter Scott’s writing.  Warraq’s first chapter examines the sympathetic treatment of Jews in Scott’s Ivanhoe, a novel set in Crusader-era England.  Ivanhoe shows Scott’s “commitment to religious and racial tolerance, his Enlightenment abhorrence of superstition and fanaticism.”

The subsequent chapter, the book’s longest, compares the presentation of the Crusades in Scott’s novel The Talisman with various historical writings.  Contrary to a “characteristically shallow, sneering aside” in Edward Said’s OrientalismThe Talisman’s “overall and overwhelming impression” is of “bickering…barbaric…course…fanatical” Crusaders in a “futile enterprise.”  By contrast, the “Muslims were patient, forbearing, and tolerant of other religions, and simply defending their homelands” while Third Crusade Muslim leader Saladin appears “virtuous, calm, refined, and sagacious.”  This Saladin is “much given to uttering what Scott must take to be pearls of Eastern wisdom but which read more like those pseudo-Confucian proverbs to be found in Chinese cookies.”

The Talisman reflected that Scott, like other intellectuals, was a “child of the Scottish Enlightenment” with its belief that “non-European civilizations were at least the equal of, and perhaps even superior to, Western civilization.”  Yet Islamophile sentiments extended beyond Scott to 20th century Islam scholar Sir Hamilton Gibb and his “biography—or rather hagiography” of Gibb’s “hero” Saladin.  For Warraq “startling,” Gibb recommended The Talisman to students as a “book from which they could learn much Middle Eastern history.”  Other historians developed a view that “Saladin, in his younger days, was essentially a shy retiring, unambitious youth who preferred a quiet seclusion to court intrigues, politics, and war.”

Yet The Talisman is “wildly inaccurate” as history.  The plot’s depiction of Saladin disguised as a doctor treating English king Richard I (“the Lionheart”) is fanciful, given that the two Third Crusade opponents never met.  These two commanders pursued “grim warfare” and “politics all the way” such that “neither of them displayed any clemency if it did not suit them.”

Saladin’s historic “characteristic ruthlessness” is far less appealing, such as when his forces slaughtered 50,000 disarmed Sudanese soldiers in Cairo in 1169 in breach of a surrender agreement.  “Not bad for a shy retiring scholar who preferred the discourse of pious men,” Warraq scoffs.  Saladin likewise had Christian prisoners killed who rejected conversion to Islam, including Crusaders sent in 1183 to Mecca to be “ritually slaughtered by having their throats cut…in the place of goats or sheep.”  Templar and Hospitaller Knights met a similar grisly end after the 1187 Battle of Hattin in a “cruel circus watched by a smiling Saladin.”  Other actions such as church destructions ordered by Saladin indicate that a “true Muslim is not tolerant” but rather pursues the “totalitarian nature of jihad” in world domination.  Yet despite Saladin’s image battling Crusaders, he spent 12 years during his reign as sultan from 1174 to 1193 fighting other Muslims and only five fighting Christians.

Crusaders “are always depicted as barbarians” in histories of the era, Warraq notes.  Nonetheless, the “Crusades were a reaction against over three hundred years of jihad when the Eastern Christians were persecuted, and hundreds of churches destroyed.”   This jihad, moreover, continued following the Crusades when Muslims went on “occupying far more territory in Europe than the Western settlers had ever held in Syria and Palestine.”  Crusades were “never a war of conversion, rather a rightful attempt to recover Christian territory which had been injuriously seized in the past.”  Contrary to modern Crusader colonialism theories, “most crusaders would have laughed at the prospect of material gain,” particularly considering the immense subsidies needed to maintain Crusader kingdoms.

“Two wrongs do not make a right,” Warraq adds concerning excuses for Islamic atrocities referencing crimes committed in Christianity’s name such as during the Crusades.  Moreover, “Islamic intolerance is presently a far more immediate danger to all, whereas Christian intolerance is a thing of the past.”  This real danger contrasts with a Muslim “false idea of a continuing western assault” since the Crusades.  In actuality, the “Crusades had almost passed out of mind” of Muslims, the Crusades’ “outright winners,” by the fourteenth century.  They “only began to take in an interest in the Crusades again in the 1890s” due to “Western imperialist rhetoric.”

Read more at Front Page

The Unbearable Lightness of Baroness Sayeeda Warsi

copyright-parsons-media-15th-febJuicy Ecumenism, By  (@AEHarrod)

“You are a sushi,” Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, the United Kingdom’s Minister for Faith and Communities, recounted friends describing her mixed Sunni-Shia Pakistani-Muslim ancestry during a November 15, 2013, Washington, DC, address.  Warsi’s delectable presentation of her Muslim heritage, however, was part of a junk food understanding of different belief systems having no irreconcilable differences hindering harmony, all past and present evidence notwithstanding.

“Conflict has taken many forms” throughout history, Warsi began her remarks at Georgetown University’s Alumni House.  Today, though, a “dangerous and rising phenomenon” of “religion turning on religion…is forming the fault lines.”  Among the “people…singled out and hounded out simply for…faith” globally were “Baha’is, Shias, Sunnis, and Alawites, Hindus, Sikhs, atheists—I could go on.”

Warsi, though, placed a “focus on a religion which is suffering particularly in the wake of changes to the Middle East.”  Christian “minority populations have co-existed with the [Muslim] majority for generations,” she claimed, but now they are “increasingly treated as outsiders.”  Religious oppressors “range from states to militant groups, and even to a person’s own family.”  The “countless causes” include “[t]urf wars, social unrest and corruption…[p]olitical transition, authoritarianism and terrorism.”  Thereby “faith is used as a proxy for other divisions.”  Somewhat contradicting her modern focus, Warsi noted that, “of course, this isn’t to say the persecution of religious minorities is new” but “is woven into the history of most of our faiths.”

In the United Kingdom, Warsi presented a counterexample of coexistence between vibrant faiths.  She “grew up practicing a minority religion, Islam, in a majority-Christian country” with a sense, to cite Hillary Clinton, that “one’s faith is unshakeable” irrespective of hostility.  Enrollment of her daughter, meanwhile, in a “Christian convent school didn’t make her less of a Muslim.”  Here she “adapted the Lord’s prayer and made it her own by ending it ameen, instead of amen.”  Warsi thus expressed opposition to a “worrying phenomenon” of “societies being told they needed to dilute their faith in order to accommodate others.”  In fact, Warsi had “called on Europe to become stronger and more confident in its Christianity” during a February 14, 2012, Vatican visit.

Internationally as well, Warsi called “freedom of religion and belief a key priority for the British government.”  Here Warsi called the Saudi Arabia-headquartered Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a grouping of 57-Muslim-majority states (including “Palestine”) with some of the world’s worst religious freedom abusers, a “key partner in our quest to promote religious freedom.”  The OIC-supported United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Resolution 16/18 also “lays the foundations for combating discrimination against people based on their religion.”

Lurking at home for Warsi, though, is the danger of “Islamophobia,” something that “had passed the dinner table test…it could be found in the most civilized of settings.”  Warsi likewise condemned in the United States “individuals like Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer denying the place of Muslims in society.”  Such “so-called patriots ignore the founding tenets of their nation, of freedom and equality.”

Warsi demanded to “expose those who seek to twist history, who are neither true to the roots of their faiths or the founding principles of their nations” such as Spencer and Geller. Warsi therefore reiterated President Barack Obama’s twisted politically correct history that “America’s founding father, Thomas Jefferson, over 200 years ago hosted an iftar at the White House and had a Quran on his bookshelf.”  Unmentioned by Obama or Warsi,President Jefferson merely shifted the usual afternoon dinner hour on December 9, 1805, to after sunset in order to accommodate a fasting Tunisian envoy, Sidi Soliman Mellimelli. Mellimelli was negotiating restitution for Tunisian vessels seized by the USS Constitution while running a blockade to the Barbary Pirates of Tripoli.  Their depredations against American merchantmen had caused Jefferson to acquire a Quran in order to better understand his Muslim enemies.

“Spain’s Islamic Golden Age was a period of harmony and progress,” Warsi similarly superficially asserted, invoking an oft-critiqued cliché in order to demonstrate that “history shows that it is possible for these religions to live together.”  “The fundamental tenets of the major faiths…are not intrinsically on some collision course.”  Reiterating a quotation in her Vatican address from Islam’s fourth caliph, Ali ibn Abu Talib, Warsi drew inspiration from “the teachings of Islam, which tell us your fellow man is your brother—either your brother in faith, or your brother in humanity.”

Yet all of Warsi’s examples of religious repression involve various Muslim oppressors, with the exception of Burma’s Muslim Rohingha population and “attacks against Christians” in “in some parts of India.”  The mass exodus of Jews from Arab countries following Israel’s establishment in 1948 also belies Warsi’s assertion of past coexistence between religious minorities and Muslim majorities.  Hardly any objective observer would share Warsi’s view that the “Arab Spring” manifested no Muslim “sectarian tension” but merely a “mutual desire for democracy, freedom, and equality.”  Warsi’s controversial claim of a “moderate Syrian opposition” with a “strong commitments to protecting minorities” has additionally failed to win public support around the world for intervention in Syria’s civil war.

Seemingly some examination of aggressive and authoritarian teachings of Islam such as sharia and militant jihad would be in order.  Appropriate as well would be explanation by Warsi concerning how her Shiite and Sunni relatives avoided conflict while these two branches of Islam have battled each other up to the present day.  Warsi would not lack for material on these issues; whole books have appeared on dhimmitude, for example, such as Mark Durie’s The Third Choice:  Islam, Dhimmitude, and Freedom and Bat Ye’or’s Islam and Dhimmitude:  Where Civilizations Collide.  Yet Warsi apparently denies any actual Islamic motive in the numerous international security issues that have vexed the world since Al Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks.  Islam merely serves as a “proxy” in the persecution of Christians in places like Nigeria, Pakistan, the Middle East, Muslim terrorist attacks, or the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Warsi’s behavior following her return to the United Kingdom suggests that her superficiality has not improved.  Her fellow peer, Lord Pearson, expressed on November 19 in the House of Lords his “fear that the dark side is moving strongly within Islam” and considered “part of Islam’s problem” that the Quran “commands the faithful to kill the unbelievers.”  Warsi responded with a West Wing segment criticizing various archaic Old Testament passages to argue that “[t]hese texts from the Old Testament could so easily be manipulated to cause mischief and indeed have been manipulated in the past.”

As Warsi’s bête noir Spencer noted at his website Jihadwatch, Warsi’s “argument is “extremely common and extremely disingenuous.”  While there are “armed jihad groups justifying violence by referring to the Qur’an and Sunnah all over the world,” both Judaism and Christianity distinguish between various forms of law in the Old Testament.  Judaism sees the religious laws of the Old Testament, in contrast to moral laws, as applicable only to Jews and has interpretations defining various brutal practices in the Old Testament as no longer applicable (see here and here).  Christianity, meanwhile, sees Old Testament religious law’s completion in Jesus Christ’s life (see here and here).

Warsi’s approval of UNHRC Resolution 16/18 indicates that she is not terribly interested in rebuttal.  The resolution references “derogatory stereotyping, negative profiling and stigmatization of persons based on their religion” and “denigration.”  Hidden behind such words is the OIC’s long term goal of criminalizing Islamic blasphemy, something even more evident in earlier OIC resolution drafts abandoned in the face of Western resistance.

Speaking on February 7 to the 2013 OIC summit in Cairo, Warsi evinced no opposition to this agenda.  Using the OIC’s favored propagandistic terminology, Warsi argued that the “OIC has for many years been concerned about the scourge of Islamophobia, or anti-Muslim hatred, and other hate speech.”  Warsi noted that “incitement to religious hatred remains an offence in Britain” under the Racial and Religious Hatred Act, such that speech like Quran burning is illegal.  Opposition to “Islamophobia” has similarly barred Geller and Spencer from entering the United Kingdom.

A Muslim version of Obama, Warsi believes that belief systems like religions are equivalent to ice cream flavors, tasting different but having the same basic ingredients.  Yet Islam’s core canonical teachings do indeed claim in various ways the propriety of using force in the name of faith.  Like the communist regimes discussed by Warsi, orthodox Muslims want “to remove all ideological opposition.”  Warsi’s assertion following her address that religious fanaticism comes from “not too much religion, but from too little” is thus hardly accurate.  Warsi’s support of “Gay rights,” meanwhile, risks infringing a religious “freedom to manifest…beliefs” as shown in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Bold Christian witness simply does not always bring forth a benign response from ideological competitors like Muslims and homosexuals.  Warsi apparently has forgotten what Christian confidence entailed in the Roman Empire.  Christians and others seeking to advocate conflicting ideas peacefully should remember this, Warsi’s well-meant but shallow appeals for interfaith harmony notwithstanding.

The Continuation of Warfare by Other Means: Washington, DC, Conference Delegitimizes Israel’s Past and Present, Part II

600x450x1465346_217012185143133_847022_n-600x450.jpg.pagespeed.ic.8QPvBFGIThby  (@AEHarrod)

“I have a real issue with the Old Testament” and the “mixing up” of ancient and modern Israel, the late Edward Said’s sister Grace stated during the November 8-9, 2013, Waging Peace in Palestine & Israel conference in Washington, DC.  As previously analyzed, this event of self-professed Christians castigated modern Israel’s entire existence as unjust, yet, as Said indicated, Israel’s Biblical past did not go unscathed at the conference either.  The conference’s revisionist history delegitimized Israel with a transformation of the Bible’s Jewish heritage into the inheritance of a Palestinian people who in turn appeared unified across centuries and cultural divides.

Mitri Rehab, a Palestinian Lutheran pastor from Bethlehem, set a Biblically jarring, anachronistic tone in a keynote address on the morning of November 9, the conference’s single full day of events.  As a “Palestinian Arab Christian” born in Bethlehem five years before the 1967 Six Day War, Rehab spoke of the Bible as “our story,” the “story of my forefathers.”  The “Bible did not originate in the Bible Belt,” Rehab analyzed, but “actually in Palestine.”  When discussing Jeremiah in the Old Testament, Rehab praised this prophet’s faith in God “to invest in Palestine” (Jeremiah 32:6-15).

Rehab thereby appeared to advocate the theses of individuals like the leftwing Israeli Jew Schlomo Sand, author of the The Invention of the Jewish People.  Available for purchase at the conference, this 2010 book argued in a discredited thesis (see here and here) that ancient Jews assimilated over time following Roman subjugation to successive inhabitants of the Holy Land like the Arabs.  Rather than the descendants of diaspora exiles, meanwhile, modern Jews in Europe and elsewhere largely descended from Jewish converts.

Thus Palestinian Arabs like Rehab, and not Jews who have settled modern Israel, have a far superior ancestral claim to what Rehab called without exception “Palestine,” central scene of the Bible’s narrative.  Astonishingly, Rehab believes that the Jewish Old Testament and the New Testament narrative of how various Jews spread the Gospel of the Jew Jesus as messiah are part of his “Palestinian” history.  Accordingly, Rehab criticized that Israeli Jews “should not be able to confiscate” the Biblical story along with the Holy Land and denounced “myths” of Jews coming home to Israel.  Palestinians lost “our narrative” in 1948 with Israel’s establishment and are now “aliens in the Holy Land.”

Yet the name Palestine for the Holy Land derives from Roman Emperor Hadrian’s designation of Israel as such in 135 AD using a Latinized version of Philistines, a Hellenistic people who in ancient times lived along the Mediterranean coast around Gaza.  Roman reference to the “arch-enemies of the Israelites” was not accidental, as Emmy Award-winning journalist Simcha Jacobovici notes.  Following the failed 132-135 AD Jewish Bar Kochba revolt, the Romans wanted “to erase the Jewish presence from Judea and to designate their homeland with reference to their Biblical enemies.”

Hadrian also changed the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitalina in honor of his clan name.  During this period the Romans intentionally violated Jewish law with the placement of pagan deity statues in Jerusalem’s ruins.  By contrast, a Roman coin marking the capture of Jerusalem during the failed Jewish revolt of 70 AD bore the Latin inscription “Judaea Capta [Judea captured].”

Similarly, the Bible speaks a geographical language completely different from Rehab’s strained invocations of “Palestine.”  Philip Farah of thePalestinian Christian Alliance for Palestine (PCAP) unintentionally recalled this truth while reading during the November 8 opening service from Isaiah 2:1-4.  This passage’s famed reference to peoples who “will beat their swords into plowshares” presupposes that the “law will go out from Zion.”  Rehab’s Prophet Jeremiah, meanwhile, spoke of a “God of Israel” common throughout the Bible.

With respect to modern Judaism therefore, the Gentile Rehab seems to reject the Apostle Paul’s injunction to “not be arrogant, but tremble” (Romans 11:20) before Judaism given Jesus’ statement that “salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22).  Unlike other Christians, Rehab draws apparently no affinity for Jews from the Old Testament’s original revelation of the one true “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (Acts 3:13) completed in the New Testament.  Rehab sees no connection between the “Jewish flesh” in which Jesus became God incarnate, now remembered or indeed transubstantiated in the Eucharist, as the late Catholic priest and scholar Richard John Neuhaus noted, and modern Jews.  If anything, these Jews owe a theological debt to Rehab’s “Palestine.”

Read more at Juicy Ecumenism

Also see:

The Continuation of Warfare by Other Means: Washington, DC, Conference Delegitimizes Israel’s Past and Present, Part I

How Historic Revisionism Justifies Islamic Terrorism

by :

How important, really, is history to current affairs?  Do events from the 7th century—or, more importantly, how we understand them—have any influence on U.S. foreign policy today?

By way of answer, consider some parallels between academia’s portrayal of the historic Islamic jihads and the U.S. government’s and media’s portrayal of contemporary Islamic jihads.

“Muslim freedom fighters” accompanies this picture appearing on a UK Standard report on Syria, rehashing an old but false motif

“Muslim freedom fighters” accompanies this picture appearing on a UK Standard report on Syria, rehashing an old but false motif

While any objective appraisal of the 7th century Muslim conquests proves that they were just that—conquests, with all the bloodshed and rapine that that entails—the historical revisionism of modern academia, especially within Arab and Islamic studies departments, has led to some portrayals of the Muslim conquerors as “freedom-fighters” trying to “liberate” the Mideast from tyrants and autocrats. (Beginning to sound familiar?)

Today’s approach to teaching the history of the Muslim conquests of the 7th century is something as follows: Yes, the Mideast was Christian, but local Christians helped Arab Muslims invade and subjugate their countries in preference to Christian Byzantine rule, which was oppressive due to doctrinal disagreements over the nature of Christ.  Hence, the Muslim conquerors were actually “liberators.”

This perspective, as with many modern Western perspectives concerning Islam, is a product of modern day epistemic distortions, chief among them: 1) repackaged narratives of the “noble savage” myth—yes, 7th century Muslim invaders were coarse, but had elevated ideals, including a fierce love for freedom and religious tolerance in comparison to Christians of the time (not to mention now); and 2) entrenched political correction that seeks to whitewash the true history of Islam followed by the uncritical acceptance of Islamic apologetics, some of which border on the absurd.

Of course, before the Islamic “liberator” thesis had become mainstream, historians such as Alfred Butler, author of The Arab Conquest of Egypt, had this to say about it:

Even in the most recent historians it will be found that the outline of the story [of the 7th century conquest of Egypt] is something as follows: …. that the Copts generally hailed them [Muslims] as deliverers and rendered them every assistance; and that Alexandria after a long siege, full of romantic episodes, was captured by storm.  Such is the received account.  It may seem presumptuous to say that it is untrue from beginning to end, but to me no other conclusion is possible. [emphasis added; pgs. iv-v]

In fact, one of the major themes throughout Butler’s Arab Conquest of Egypt—which, published in 1902, is heavily based on primary sources, Arabic and Coptic, unlike more modern secondary works that promote the Islamic “liberator” thesis—is that “there is not a word to show that any section of the Egyptian nation viewed the advent of the Muslims with any other feeling than terror” (p. 236).

Read more

 

APT: Parents and Taxpayers Attack Newton Educators over World History Texts

APT logo

APT logo

By Jerry Gordon:

We are increasingly concerned about how secondary school textbooks and world history courses convey disinformation about Israel and Islam. These materials demonize Israel while proseltyzing for Islam. Local advocates here in Florida have drawn attention to misrepresentations of Islam in protests in Brevard and Sarasota Counties-see our post on the subject here. Tennessee parents have also raised objections to similar course material extolling Palestinian suicide bombers.    Credit Charles Jacobs of Americans for Peace and Tolerance for taking on the Newton, Massachusetts school board and superintendent for permitting use of texts and course materials that engage in promoting false information. As a JNS news report, notes APT brought it to the attention of both the general and Jewish communities in an aggressive ad campaign:

The Boston-based nonprofit Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT) took out the ads in the Boston GlobeBoston HeraldNewton TabBoston Metro, andJewish Advocate. The ads cover research by concerned parents and students that has revealed the presence of anti-Israel texts in Newton schools including “The Arab World Studies Notebook,” which claims that Israeli soldiers murdered hundreds of Palestinian nurses in Israeli prisons; “A Muslim Primer,” which claims that astronaut Neil Armstrong converted to Islam, but that the anti-Muslim U.S. government warned him “to keep his new religion to himself or he could be fired” from his government job; “Flashpoints: Guide to World History,” which asserts that Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem, is the capital of Israel, and that Jerusalem is the capital of “Palestine”; and other materials.

An APT press release had more background on parental concerns about the Arab World Studies Notebook:

Dr. Charles Jacobs, head of APT said “the materials in the Newton schools also proselytize for Islam, while denigrating Christianity and women’s rights. One handout cited in the ad from “A World Where Womanhood Reigns Supreme” teaches that gender equality is unacceptable and that American women are repressed because of the way they dress. The handout claims that, “the invisible boundary between men and women is a welcome partition.” Another handout recommends the writings of Sayyid Qutb, the radical Islamist who inspiredOsama Bin Laden.”

In the past school officials have defended including anti-Israel materials as part of an educational effort at ‘global understanding’ and teaching ‘critical thinking skills’ to students. After APT complaints earlier in the year, school officials acknowledged the inappropriateness of one of the noted materials (The Arab World Studies Notebook) and it was removed.

Over the course of the past year the school committee has refused to share the school curriculum with Newton parents. Some supporters of the School Committee have sought to silence critics by falsely accusing them of bigotry and racism.

Read more at New English Review

Newton_Schools_Globe-BW.indd

 

Poison Ivy: The Islamification of Thomas Jefferson

20131016_jefferson_kudzuLARGEby EDWARD CLINE:

Modern academic “scholarship” is similar to kudzu, that uncontrollable weed or vine that can grow from a single planting and eventually entwine every trunk and branch within its reach, and link from shrub and hedge to form a canopy over even a forest that will deny other plants sunlight and rain. Wild kudzu suffocates and kills. Much like big government. Much like statism.

There has been an ongoing campaign over the decades to find feet of clay in Thomas Jefferson, in order to discredit and obviate his position on freedom (e.g., the whole Sally Hemings and Jefferson “affair,” the subject of books and movies), or, failing that, to appropriate him and his reputation for un-Jeffersonian purposes. The ivy-grown towers of modern academe are really bastions of kudzu. One must ascend the dying trees with a machete and hack down the canopy, and then descend again to uproot the killer weed. Vipers like cane snakes and rattlers hide in the dense scholarly foliage, and even black widows and brown recluses, ready to strike at anyone careless enough to step on or disturb them. However, academic kudzu can be further contained and eliminated with the herbicide of reason.

But, imagine Rudolph Evans’s magnificent statue of Jefferson in the Jefferson Memorial smothered in kudzu. That’s what academia has been doing to his life and reputation.

Earlier this month, a very odd and alarming book fell from the dense foliage, Denise Spellberg’s Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an: The Founders and Islam.* It purports to prove, or at least give the public the impression, that Jefferson smiled benevolently upon Islam, that Islam played a role in the formation of his political philosophy, that the wisdom to be found in the Koran somehow found its way into the Declaration of Independence.

This is as bizarre a thesis as one which would claim that Mao’s Little Red Book, Marx’s Das Kapital, and Hitler’s Mein Kampf somehow contributed to the corpus of literature upholding individual rights, laissez faire capitalism, and limited government, and that in Mao’s, Hitler’s and Marx’s books can be can be found the principles which moved Jefferson to compose the Declaration and the Founders to create the Constitution of the United States.

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The truth is that Jefferson’s inclusion of Muslims as deserving of civil rights protection, together with Jews, Hindus, and dissenting sects of Christianity, was wholly incidental. He did not think Muslims deserved any special attention. At least, there apparently is no record that he thought so. So there is no reason to “imagine” that Jefferson bit his nails raw over the treatment and future “perceptions” of Islam and Muslims, which is the impression one gets in Spellberg’s book. According to her and Jerome’s own notes (once one has brushed aside the kudzu), Jefferson paid Islam and Muslims no more attention than he paid to the flora and fauna of Virginia. In fact, far, far less attention.

Both Spellberg and Jerome highlight the fact that Jefferson held the first iftar in the White House in 1805. But that was a matter of discretion and diplomacy on Jefferson’s part. It was not an act of submission (Islam) nor even necessarily an act of “respect.”

Forgive me while I indulge in a bit of “imagining” myself. Picture Jefferson confounded by the record of Islam as we know it today. How was he going to reconcile the violent verses in the Koran, which abrogated the “peaceful” ones? How was he going to account for the estimated 1.5 million Europeans abducted from Western coastal towns by Muslim raiders and who disappeared into the maw of Islamic slavery from the 16th through the 19th centuries, never mind all those America seamen?

What conclusions would he reach once he grasped that Islam is at root a totalitarian ideology strutting about in the vestments of religion, and demanding that Western nations accommodate Islam Sharia law at the price of subverting and suborning Western jurisprudence and freedom of speech? How would he explain Syria, and Egypt, and Libya, Indonesia, and Malaysia, and Kenya, and all the murders, beheadings, stonings, amputations, massacres, rapes, honor killings, female genital mutilations, the marriages of pubescent girls, and destruction committed in Allah’s name, not only in the Mideast, but in Europe, as well?

How would he view Mohammad the “prophet” when he learned that his actual existence is in dispute, and that anyway, if he did exist, he was an illiterate, rapacious, murdering brigand and warlord given to “hearing” voices, and hardly the sagacious “lawgiver” on a par with Solon? What would he think when he read contemporary accounts of Mohammad’s conquest of the Arabian Peninsula, accounts that portrayed him as a kind of Al Capone of his time?

Perhaps a fairer “imagining” would be to put Spellberg and Jerome in Jefferson’s shoes, without the benefit of the camouflage of scholarly kudzu.

Read more at Family Security Matters

Edward Cline is the author of the Sparrowhawk novels set in England and Virginia in the pre-Revolutionary period, of several detective and suspense novels, and three collections of his commentaries and columns, all available on Amazon Books. His essays, book reviews, and other articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the Journal of Information Ethics and other publications. He is a frequent contributor to Rule of Reason, Family Security Matters, Capitalism Magazine and other Web publications.  

 

 

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Radical Jewish Leftist to Head CAIR Chapter in Philadelphia

Jacob Bender, Jewish leader of CAIR Chapter in Philadelphia

Jacob Bender, Jewish leader of CAIR Chapter in Philadelphia

By Jerry Gordon:

Bare Naked Islam (BNI) has a fascinating story, courtesy of Nathan Guttman at The Forward, about the first Jew to head a CAIR chapter in the US, Jacob Bender. My colleague in Israel, Adina Kudnicki, in her  blog post rightfully calls out Bender as a leftist member of the Muslim Brotherhood judenrate. Bender was a former interfaith speechwriter for the Rev. Jesse Jackson of “hymietown” fame during  his 1984 Presidential run who became a documentarian. Bender was an early devotee of Muslim Jewish interfaith dialogue. He leaped from that into creating videos documentaries supporting the return to re-occupy the former Muslim lands in Al Andaluz in Spain retaken in the Re-Conquista by their most Catholic Majesties of Spain who made the Iberian country Judenrein for more than five centuries with the expulsion of Span’s Jews on August 3, 1492. Now Bender heads one of the 20 CAIR US chapters in Philadelphia. Like the leaders of the Judenrate (Jewish Councils) of Ghettos in Nazi occupied Poland  who sold  their co-religionists the line that sacrificing a few to the ovens and crematoria of the SS-run death camps, would spare the remainder., Bender is myopic and a traitor to his own people. Exposing  fellow Jews like Bender engaged in furthering the destruction of Israel is what  pre-occupies Kudnicki, Kudniki says on her blog post:

This is hardly a matter of different strokes for different folks. But it is a matter of Jews aiding and abetting those who seek nothing less than Israel’s destruction, and by definition the murder of half of world Jewry. They can couch their activism/work in whatever dishonest, balderdash cloaks they want. Besides, there is nothing more disturbing, to those who paint themselves otherwise, than shining a spotlight on their treachery. Alas, those of us who understand what they are really up to will continue dogging/digging into their activities

But then so do members of the rabbinate who promote Jewish Muslim dialogue and synagogue mosque twinning programs. Many of them like the Manhattan based Foundation for Ethnic Understanding support the agenda of Muslim Brotherhood front group and Mosques in places like Boston, Buffalo, Orange County, California and Tennessee.  Newly minted Philadelphia CAIR chapter head Bender and these well meaning rabbis in Massachusetts, New York, and Tennessee are what Lenin called “useful idiots.” They are helping to perfect the goals of the 1991 Secret Plan of the Ikhwan Summit in Philadelphia that Philly native Eric Stakelbeck and  ace CBN terrorism journalist covers in his latest book, The Brotherhood. (See our review in the October NER, Willful Blindness to the Global Muslim Brotherhood Threat ). That  secret plan was presented as evidence in the 2008 Federal Dallas Holy Land Foundation Trial that convicted the Muslim charity’s leaders and listed CAIR, ISNA, NAIT and the MAS as unindicted co-conspirators engaged in funneling upwards of $35 million in charitable funds to Hamas, the MB in Gaza.

Bender’s appointment to head the CAIR Philadelphia chapter makes him the founding member of Chelm on the Schuylkill River (See our NER article “Chelm on the Charles River” for a discussion of the Boston contingent.)

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About Bender’s film, Out of Cordoba:

Out of Cordoba is a documentary film, directed by Jacob Bender and produced by Mr. Bender and MLK Producciones of Malaga, Spain, that explores some of the most vexing questions of our time: Is there a “clash of civilizations” between the West and the Islamic world? Are Jews and Muslims eternal enemies, incapable of peaceful coexistence? Does religious faith lead inevitably to xenophobia and violence?

Big Peace – “Out of Cordoba,” (2008) was directed by Jacob Bender, self-described as “one of the initiators of interfaith dialogue with the American Muslim community. He has spoken dozens of times at mosques and at large gatherings of Muslims in the United States, particularly at the conventions of the Islamic Society of North America, the largest Muslim organization in the US.” He neglects to mention that ISNA was also named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism finance trial.

Restoring ‘“Al-Andalus’ – an ageless Model of Tolerance” has been the stated goal of Al-Qaeda. In September 2007 Ayman al-Zawahiri issued an audio tape calling for the reconquest of “Al-Andalus” and more recently called for the “cleansing” of North Africa of Spaniards and the French as preparation for the reoccupation of “Al-Andalus”. An al-Qaeda-linked cyber-jihadist group that targets US companies with hacks and computer worms styles themselves as “The Brigades of Tariq ibn Ziyad”, named after the invader and occupier of Spain.

The Out of Cordoba documentary’s Advisory board includes the usual Shariah apologists Karen Armstrong and John L. Esposito, but also: Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of the Ground Zero Mosque, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, Fiqh Council of North America, and Dr. Sayyid Muhammed Syeed, Islamic Society of North America.

The Funders for the film include the Alwaleed bin Talal Foundation (Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is an investor in News Corporation and gives in the tens of millions to Harvard, Georgetown and others to start Shariah academic programs), the Muslim Brotherhood-associated International Institute of Islamic Thought, the Islamic Society of North America (unindicted co-conspirator) and the Alavi Foundation (FBI began to seize their assets in 2009, and the former president was sentenced in 2010 to prison).

Watch this trailer of Bender extolling the virtues of the benighted message of his documentary Cordoba:

 

 

Read more at New English Review

Reza Aslan: Authority on Islam and the Middle East?

reza-450x251By :

An author who came to widespread attention during the past couple of months over the release of his book Zealot (July 2013) on the life Jesus, Reza Aslan has been known primarily as an authority on Islam and the Middle East. He has been hailed by an array of commentators, most notably the celebrity comedian Jon Stewart, who described him as “the fantastic Reza Aslan.” But where did this reputation come from? More importantly, does it hold up to critical scrutiny?

To understand the rise of Aslan, one must turn to his 2005 book No God but God. Aslan was alarmed by what he saw as a supposed “clash of monotheisms” through polarizing rhetoric in both the West and Middle East. Denouncing “rising anti-Muslim vehemence that has become so much a part of the [Western] mainstream media’s discourse about the Middle East,” Aslan purported to demonstrate continuity between Islam and its predecessors, Christianity and Judaism. In other words, to demonstrate that there is no need for a “clash of monotheisms.”

Fundamental to Aslan’s argument is that the message of Islam, as intended by its founder, is a “revolutionary message of moral accountability and social egalitarianism.” Aslan is open about his apologetic intentions, making it clear that “there is no higher calling than to defend one’s faith, especially from ignorance and hate.” Indeed, as one reviewer noted, “this book is designed for the west.”

The result is not scholarship, but apologetics. It leads Aslan to make usual and predictable howlers. To focus on a single crucial issue, he asserts that “the most important innovation in the doctrine of jihad was its outright prohibition of all but strictly defensive wars,” while Qur’anic verses such as 9:29, with the injunction to fight non-Muslims until they pay a poll-tax in a state of subjugation, are explained away as “directed specifically at the Quraysh (the pagan tribe in Mecca opposed to Muhammad) and their clandestine partisans in Yathrib (Medina, with the Jews opposed to Muhammad).”

Aslan is of course entitled to his personal interpretation of the texts, but presenting it as the “true” view for a non-Muslim audience amounts to disinformation. This is evident especially when he portrays what he terms the “classical doctrine of jihad” as something formulated during the “height of the Crusades” and “partly in response to them.”  In fact, the doctrine of jihad demands that the “House of Islam” (Dar al-Islam) must subdue the “House of War” (Dar al-Harb, the non-Islamic world), although Aslan uses the softened (and misleading) phrase “in pursuit of “the “House of Islam.”

Insum, Aslan presents offensive jihad as a response to Western aggression. This is blatantly unhistorical: offensive jihad as a doctrine—beginning with elaboration from the first biographers of Mohammed such as Ibn Ishaq in the ninth century—was developed precisely to unify and justify the rapidly growing Arab empire from Islam’s early years.

Though Aslan also purports to be a voice for reform, his apologetic approach in No God but God leads to little insight in the wider realm of modern Middle East analysis. Instead, he regurgitates worn-out talking points.

Thus, given his portrayal of jihad as merely defensive, Aslan refuses to consider whether al-Qaeda’s worldview might have any ideological appeal with roots in Islamic theology. Rather, the only way to diminish al-Qaeda’s influence is to address the “very grievances that the movement uses to rally young Muslims to its cause: the suffering of the Palestinians, American support for Arab dictators . . . the fact that we in the west tend to treat that entire region [the Middle East] as a giant gas station.” In fact, this is typical of the propaganda that al-Qaeda employs in messages to Westerners.

Read more at Front Page

 

Texas libraries receive money to celebrate ‘Muslim American’ culture with Muslim Journeys programs

intro-1hevb3u750-630x286Watchdog Wire, by Lou Ann Anderson:

October is Muslim American Heritage Month, “a month of celebration and sharing Muslim American’s contribution to the history & fabric of America.” The American Library Association (ALA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) are further promoting this theme by sponsoring two programs Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys, a scholar-led reading and discussion program for public audiences, along with a Muslim Journeys Bookshelf featuring “a collection of books, films and other resources that will introduce the American public to the complex history and culture of Muslims in the United States and around the world.” Of 125 libraries and state humanities councils awarded the Let’s Talk About It program, five recipients are in Texas. Of 953 similar locales receiving the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf, 26 of those are also within our state.

Denton, located just north of Dallas-Fort Worth and home to the University of North Texas, is one town receiving generous awards from these programs with the city’s public library receiving a bookshelf award and the university tapped for both the bookshelf and the discussion program.

The public library describes its participation and added program “enhancements” as follows:

The Denton Public Library will host a day of lectures and perspectives Oct. 5 with the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys program at the Emily Fowler Central Library.

The Bridging Cultures initiative is sponsored by the American Library Association and the National Endowment for the Humanities to encourage understanding between cultures and religions. The bookshelf is a collection of books, movies, and the Oxford Islamic Studies database; these materials are now available at the Denton Public Library. The collection is categorized into several sections, each focusing on a different aspect of Muslim cultural heritage: Connected Histories; Literary Reflections; Points of View; American Stories; Pathways of Faith; and Art, Architecture, and Film. The bookshelf collection is a “featured list” in the library’s catalog – simply access the catalog at library.cityofdenton.com and click on the Featured Lists tab at the top, then click on the Muslim Journeys link to see a list of all 29 books and DVDs.

The Denton Public Library is enhancing the program with guest speakers throughout the day on Oct. 5. Dr. Mahmoud Sadri begins the program at 10 a.m., comparing the challenges of the Islamic world with historical challenges in the United States. Imam Mohamed Fouad follows at 1 p.m. to discuss the Islamic faith and the Straight Path from an Islamic perspective. He also will discuss some of the books in the bookshelf collection. Lilly Ramin and Setareh Keshmiripour will speak at 4 p.m. about growing up in the United States from a Persian, non-Muslim perspective.

UNT Digital Scholarship Co-Operative provides the following description of Denton as well as its goals with these programs:

Texas has the eighth largest Muslim population in the United States.  As a University town, Denton, Texas has a larger Muslim population—made up of staff, faculty, and students—than comparable communities elsewhere in Texas. As such, the Muslim community is visible and vibrant, yet remains marginalized, especially when compared to other ethnic, racial, and religious minorities.

UNT Libraries share the University’s commitment to diversity and to providing equitable access and representation to all members of the University community.  Students and faculty from across the disciplines are engaged in research that examines cross-cultural encounters in America, the culture and history of other nations, and how these influences shape the present in terms of politics, the arts, and society. The Muslim Journeys Bookshelf and the Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys awards provide valuable materials for faculty and student research, and support the Libraries’ Strategic Goals to develop outstanding collections, and providing innovative services, including programming, to communities of patrons inside and outside the University.

The original Bookshelf award included 25 books, three films, and access for one year to Oxford Islamic Studies OnlineEight-hundred forty-two libraries received the Bookshelf Award.

The Let’s Talk About It Award provides support for programming around items from the collection. In partnership with the UNT American Studies Colloquium, led by Assistant Professor of English Kelly Wisecup, and the UNT Muslim Students Association, the Digital Scholarship Co-Operative will sponsor five scholar-led reading groups on the theme “American Stories.” In addition to the reading groups, UNT students, faculty, and staff will be invited to record video podcasts titled “My Muslim Journey: American Stories” in which they’ll describe books that shaped them as individuals. A final capstone event in which participants will share their videos will be held in the Spring semester. Librarians who are interested in helping with this programming, or who have ideas for other activities around the collection can contact disco@unt.edu.

For those who follow public policy issues and funding, the ALA and NEA – their activities and use of taxpayer dollars – are widely known. Education commentator and former public school educator Donna Garner offers this recap for those less familiar:

Leave it to the American Library Association (ALA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEA) to use our tax dollars to promote the Obama administration’s leftwing agenda – “Muslim Journeys Program” in Denton, Texas.

As best I could determine, the ALA receives around $184 Million per year of taxpayers’ dollars appropriated by Congress; and the NEA receives close to $154 Million.

The NEA is well known for such grants as the one in which an artist produced Piss Christ, a photo of a plastic crucifix submerged in urine.

In 2006 the American Library Association gave its prestigious “academy award” for Young People’s Literature (ages 12 – 18) to Looking for Alaska by John Green.  The ALA award propelled this porn novel to popularity all around the country.  See “Actual Quotes from the Book” —  http://www.safelibraries.org/pushers.htm#language .

For years, we have tried to get Congress to cut the funding for ALA and NEA.  With our country on the edge of the fiscal cliff, now would be a great time to let these two leftwing entities stand on their own.

Let the ALA and NEA raise their own funds to promote their leftist agenda and see how far they get.  If the local taxpayers are sold on what the ALA and NEA want to do in their local communities, let the locals pay for it. If the people of Denton, Texas, want to fund “Muslim Journeys,” let the locals pay for it.

With the brutal killings in Kenya, Benghazi, Boston Marathon, Ft. Hood, 9/11, Mali, London, Tel Aviv, Baghdad, Basra, Marrakech, Nigeria, Thailand, Frankfurt, Manilla, and many more by Muslim terrorists, I think the ALA and NEA might find themselves with very little local support for “Muslim Journeys.”

As these programs often target younger Americans in seeking to normalize, downplay – even ignore – the complex religious, political and social tensions existing between Muslim and Western cultures, Garner offers this advice:

With schools so caught up in the 21st Century technology craze, I would encourage parents not to allow their school children to go on Skype or other online venues to dialogue with “global pen pals” – during the school day or on their techie devices at home.  Jihadists are trying to lure our American children to join their terrorist networks.  CNN recently reported that the Kenyan mall attacks may very well have involved jihadist Somali young men who have been lured from America over the Internet.

All of us need to be very concerned about an effort in the United States to desensitize our school children through their curriculum to destroy a belief in American exceptionalism.  Such desensitization leaves our school children open to being linked up with unknown “global pen pals” who may very well be Muslim jihadists trying to recruit our children into their cause.

In Editorial: Florida libraries celebrating Muslim American Heritage MonthWatchdog Wire – Florida offers additional perspective on the content offered within these programs.

For the full listing of locations receiving awards: Let’s Talk About It: Muslim JourneysMuslim Journeys Bookshelf.

 

Also see: